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The Irregular Actions of People’s Commissar for Justice I. Z. Steinberg and Member of the Board of the People’s Commissariat for Justice V. A. Karelin

Draft Decision for C.P.C. on 'The Irregular Actions of People’s Commissar for Justice I. Z. Steinberg and Member of the Board of the People’s Commissariat for Justice V. A. Karelin'.

The Council of People’s Commissars considers that no changes in the decisions of the Dzerzhinsky Commission or any other commission appointed by the Soviets[3] are permissible other than by way of appeal to the Council of People’s Commissars, and on no account by way of personal order of the Commissar for Justice.

The Council of People’s Commissars considers further that the act of comrades Steinberg and Karelin, who released the arrested men on the night of 18.XII was illegal both in form and substance, since it contravened not only the privileges of the Dzerzhinsky Commission but the direct decision of the Council of People’s Commissars adopted on the evening of 18.XII which ordered the arrested men to be detained for identification.



[1] This document was also signed by J. V. Stalin.—Ed.] —Lenin

[2] This draft was written by Lenin in connection with the discussion of a statement by F. E. Dzerzhinsky, Chairman of the All-Russia Extraordinary Commission (Veebeka), at a meeting of the C.P.C. on December 19, 1917 (January 1, 1918). Dzerzhinsky protested against the action of I. Z. Steinberg, People’s Commissar for Justice, and V. A. Karelin, member of the Board of the People’s Commissariat for Justice, both of them Left S.R.s.

The evening before, at a meeting of the C.P.C., Lenin received a report that the Vecheka had arrested a group of members of the counter-revolutionary Constituent Assembly Defence Union on the premises of the Free Economic Society, during an. illegal attempt on their part, made in defiance of the decree of the C.P.C., to open a “session” of the Constituent Assembly. The C.P.C. had decided to detain the arrested men in custody until their identity was established. Steinberg and Karelin visited the scene, but instead of carrying out the decision of the C.P.C. they released all the arrested persons without even notifying the Veeheka. Their action ran counter to the agreement between the Central Committees of the Bolsheviks and the Left S.R.s for conducting a common line in the C.P.C. and was a violation of the obligation to pursue a Soviet policy which the Left S.R.s had taken upon themselves when joining the C.P.C.

The C.P.C. endorsed the draft resolution written by Lenin.

[3] The Dzerzhinsky Commission (Vecheka)—the All-Russia Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage; the other commissions referred to were: the Committee of Inquiry of the Petrograd Soviet, the Naval Committee of Inquiry and the Committee for Combating Drunken Riots.


Source: Marxist Internet Archive.

The February Revolution
Strikes and protests erupt on women's day in Petrograd and develop into a mass movement involving hundreds of thousands of workers; within 5 days the workers win over the army and bring down the hated and seemingly omnipotent Tsarist Monarchy.
Lenin Returns
Lenin returns to Russia and presents his ‘April Theses’ denouncing the Bourgeois Provisional Government and calling for “All Power to the Soviets!”
The June Days
Following the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, the reformist leaders called a demonstration to show the strength of "democracy". 400,000 people attended, the vast majority carried banners with Bolshevik slogans.
The July Days
Spontaneous, armed demonstrations against the Provisional Government erupt in Petrograd. The workers and soldiers are suppressed by force, introducing a period of reaction and making the peaceful development of the revolution impossible.
The Kornilov Affair
Following the July days, the Bolsheviks were driven underground and the forces of reaction were emboldened. This process culminated in the reactionary forces coalescing around General Kornilov, who attempt to march on Petrograd and crush the revolutionary movement in its entirety.
The October Revolution
The Provisional Government is overthrown. State power passes to the Soviets on the morningm of 26th October, after the Bolsheviks’ Military Revolutionary Committee seize the city and the cabinet surrenders.
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